The Weekly Connect 6/1/20

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Educators and policymakers are worried about low-income students falling behind during coronavirus school closures.

Because of the pandemic, America’s schools could face massive budget cuts.

Some districts are struggling to help English Language Learners.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

How to Help Students Manage Their Anger During the Pandemic
Ed Week Ask a Psychologist Blog: There’s a lot for kids to be angry about right now. Anger is what psychologists call a “universal emotion” because its features are common across all human cultures. Like all emotions, anger serves a purpose. It can motivate us to stand up for ourselves—and others—against bullies. But anger can also get out of hand and cause us to say things that are hurtful. And in the current pandemic, the ultimate enemy is a virus that, while blameworthy, isn’t going to change course because we yell and stomp our feet. If you sense that your students are feeling anger, listen empathically and let them know that anger is a normal human response to what’s going on right now. Next, help your students manage their anger, for example, through encouraging third-person, thoughtful reflection. See related article: Ed Week Ask a Psychologist Blog “How to Talk to Students About the Coronavirus Without Scaring Them. 

What Lasting Academic (and Economic) Effects Could Coronavirus Shutdowns Have on This Generation of Students? Some Alarming Data Points From Research on Previous Disasters
The 74 Million: Though we can guess at the academic effects of the COVID-19 school shutdowns, the full impact of the lost learning time won’t be known for decades. Research on previous school closures may be helpful to guide schools’ responses. Those studies find negative effects on two levels. One is that school closures can disrupt educational trajectories if students use the opportunity to make different life decisions than they otherwise would have, for example, students in high school or college dropping out now in order to take advantage of immediate job opportunities. Another: Lost learning time has the largest effects on the youngest students, based on data from school closures in a number of contexts. See related article: N.P.R. “Survey Shows Big Remote Learning Gaps for Low-Income and Special Needs Children.” 

Takeaways From Research on Tutoring to Address Coronavirus Learning Loss
The Hechinger Report: Many educators and policymakers are worried about low-income children falling woefully behind in math, reading, and other subjects while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic. One proposal is to give them personal tutors. Normally, the idea would seem too expensive but extreme circumstances have put big ideas on the table. How effective would large-scale tutoring be? One 2016 analysis of hundreds of studies found that frequent one-to-one tutoring with research proven instruction was effective in increasing learning rates of low-performing students. A key finding was that high-dosage tutoring was much more effective than low-dosage (e.g., once a week) tutoring.

Policy

A New “New Deal” For Education: Top 10 Policy Moves for States in the COVID 2.0 Era
Forbes: As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it is clear that picking up where we left off and returning to business-as-usual in education will not be possible. In many ways, this is a good thing. Our education system has been deeply unequal and erratic in delivering on the promise of a quality education for all of America’s children. Policies that could help allow us to seize this moment to strengthen learning opportunities today and into the future include: closing the digital divide, strengthening distance learning, emphasizing authentic learning and assessments, ensuring supports for social-emotional learning, redesigning schools for stronger relationships, supporting community schools, and sustaining early childhood programs. See related article: Education Dive “Fast Forward: What Could Reacclimation Mean for Schools Beyond COVID-19? 

A Looming Financial Meltdown for America’s Schools
N.P.R.: With the nation’s attention still fixed on the COVID-19 health crisis, school leaders are warning of a financial meltdown that could devastate many districts and set back an entire generation of students. “Cuts to funding at schools will forever impact the lives of children,” Austin Beutner, superintendent of the second-largest school district in the nation, said soon after California’s governor called for emergency cuts in education spending. The harm children face from these cuts, Beutner warned, ““s just as real a threat to them as is the coronavirus.” States have been reporting shocking declines in tax revenues, leading state governments to implement deep cuts that heavily impact school funding. See related article: N.P.R. “DeVos Faces Pushback Over Plan to Reroute Aid to Private School Students.” 

When Schools Reopen, All Staff Should Wear Masks, New CDC Guidance Says
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Face masks would become common, cafeterias would be closed to prevent crowding, and extracurricular activities would be cancelled in areas heavily affected by the coronavirus, if schools adhere to new and long-awaited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools. The guidance includes recommendations that could alter nearly every part of the school day, from bus rides to recess. And it could present major challenges to educators returning after a long period of remote learning.

Around the Nation

Reopening America’s Schools and the Privilege of Opting Out
U.S. News and World Report: New polling from the National Parents Union shows that two-thirds of parents want schools to remain closed until it is certain that there is no health risk. As the academic year winds down and education officials begin thinking about what school will look like come fall, many are staring down a new face of education inequality: the privilege of keeping children home. “In the same sense that low-income families and families of color have sent their kids to low-performing schools even though the school is not performing, those who can afford to not send their kids out of concern will not send their kids. But those who can’t afford it will not have any choice,” says Khulia Pringle, a parent activist and an Americorps education outreach coordinator.

Less Learning and Late Guidance: School Districts Struggle to Help English Language Learners During COVID-19 Crisis
Chalkbeat: The rapid shift to remote learning forced by the COVID-19 crisis has left the nation’s roughly 5 million English Language Learners (ELLs)in a precarious position. Many have seen their language instruction shrink as districts balance competing priorities and struggle to connect with students attending school from their living rooms. Schools and districts have largely had to figure out how to meet the needs of English learners on their own. It wasn’t until recently that the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance clarifying that educators must continue to provide English language support “to the greatest extent possible” during the pandemic. Some districts crafted remote learning plans that took ELL needs into consideration prior to the guidance, though this has not been the case everywhere. 

Will Early Learning, After-School Shift Toward Home-Based Care?
Education Dive: The home-based model, experts suggest, might play a larger role in the early-childhood education sector as parents return to work and officials look for ways to get children back in classrooms. Already, 17 states have publicly funded preschool programs that include licensed family-child care homes as part of a “mixed-delivery” system, meaning both school- and community-based providers can receive a contract to serve children in the program. In addition, of the more than 600,000 school-age children in after-school programs receiving funding through the federal Child Care Development Fund, roughly 25% are in family child care homes.

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